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article about Nanotechnology on rationalwiki
(05-07-2015, 09:10 AM)JohnnyYesterday Wrote: Out of curiosity, have you read any of Drexler's books?

There's a huge difference between what he, Ralph Merkle, and other associates have actually said vs. the popular misconceptions. He actually wrote a book a few years ago trying to kill these stupid memes. I wish him the best, but once false ideas get out into the world and run wild, good luck trying to stamp them out.

Going back to the early '80s, Drexler has been an advocate for protein engineering and synthetic biology.

I read engines of creation as a teenager. Didn't bother reading any more Drexler, he honestly only ever came up in my nanotechnology courses as a lesson in history and miscommunication of science to the public.
(05-07-2015, 12:13 PM)Drashner1 Wrote: I would disagree about the article being fair. In fact I have a hard time taking any 'article' seriously that includes slang terms like 'bollocks' and ad hominem attacks like 'fanboys' in support of its position.

I didn't mean fair from that position, it's clearly on the level of newspaper quality but overall I didn't find much of a problem with its sentiment on the science.

(05-07-2015, 12:13 PM)Drashner1 Wrote: While I don't disagree that Drexler's vision may not turn out to accurate or exactly what we actually end up with in terms of nanotechnology, I would point out that the same could be said of Leonardo da Vinci's ideas about flight and various other things. While it took centuries for anything like his ideas to be achieved and the actual functionality of the technologies don't operate much like what he envisioned - we still acknowledge that he came up with the basic idea and attempted to imagine how it might work. We don't call him names, nor do we denigrate him for not getting it exactly right.

Don't disagree with you there.

(05-07-2015, 12:13 PM)Drashner1 Wrote: While I can sympathize with the frustration you describe, I would also point out that Drexler is not in control of the media. Blaming him for what they may or may not do isn't really fair IMO.

I don't blame him that much but he should have to take responsibility for what his popular science books have perpetuated about the field. Yes it's not totally his fault but time and time again scientists write pop sci books that over sensationalise the field and are bound to be distorted. I believe Drexler himself acknowledges his mistake by admitting he should never have started the grey goo argument.

(05-07-2015, 12:13 PM)Drashner1 Wrote: We can however try to predict what the future might bring. And in doing so we might even inspire some people to actually make some of those predictions happen. Cf some documentaries I've seen in which some of the people who invented cell phones and other devices talk about being inspired by seeing Star Trek or other SF movies or books.

Absolutely, I wasn't referring to this though. More the Kurzweil-esque predictions people have that in specific years specific technologies will come about and be used in specific ways. Inspiration and planning are very different to the type of predictions that come out of the popular understanding of nanotechnology.
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RE: article about Nanotechnology on rationalwiki - by Rynn - 05-07-2015, 06:16 PM

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